Like other types of dairy, cheese provides vitamin A, calcium, healthy fat and protein. Also like other types of dairy products, it’s even better if the milk comes from cows that are grass-fed and organic. There’s a growing body of evidence that questions the benefits and whether cheese is bad for you that considers other factors, like the amount of cheese you eat. For instance, it’s high in fat, so overindulgence can pack on the pounds. Some types of cheese are also better for you than others are.
Cheese is made from milk that has added salt, good bacteria and an enzyme, rennet.
There are eight different types of cheese and within those categories, many variations. Fresh cheese is one that’s ready to eat and doesn’t require aging. They include cottage cheese and ricotta. Mild semi-soft cheese is aged from a few days to a few months. These include Monterey Jack and Havarti. Soft ripened cheese gets softer with age and include Brie and Camembert. American or French goat cheese are surface-ripened. The outside is a rind with the interior soft or runny. Semi-hard cheese is the broadest category and include Swiss, cheddar and Colby. Hard cheeses are well aged and include Gouda and Parmigiano-Reggiano. Blue cheese is easy to recognize and includes Roquefort and Gorgonzola. Washed rind cheese, the final category, have an orange-pinkish rind from being washed with brine, beer or other alcohol. Limburger and Muenster are in that group.
There are some cheeses that even lactose intolerant people can eat and ones that are better for dieters.
The longer cheese is aged, the less lactose it contains, so it doesn’t have the same effect on those that are lactose intolerant. Muenster, Camembert, Brie, cheddar, Provolone, Gouda, Blue, Parmesan and Swiss are the ones with the least amount of lactose. If you’re trying to lose weight, cheese with higher calories include Parmesan, Cheddar, Monterey Jack, Fintina and Romano. Those that are lower in calories per serving include Mozzarella. Feta and goat cheese. The healthiest types of cheese include Mozzarella, blue cheese, Feta, cottage cheese, Swiss cheese, Ricotta and goat cheese.
It’s not always the cheese that’s the unhealthy part of the food.
Cheese is often used in dishes that aren’t the healthiest. It tops loaded fries, pizza and other high calorie, not so healthy foods. Not all cheese is real cheese. For instance, those American cheese slices people often use are really cheese food. They contain additives to give them a longer shelf life. In fact, those additives are over half the ingredients of the product.
- Some of those additives include sodium phosphate, sorbic acid and calcium phosphates. Calcium phosphates increase the firmness of the cheese. Calcium phosphates also are used in fertilizers.
- If you’re going to eat cheese, eat full fat cheese. Low fat cheese has other additives to make it taste good. It also is missing the healthy fat that keeps you feeling fuller and provides benefits for your body.
- If you want shredded cheese, do it yourself. Don’t buy the pre-shredded kind. In order to keep from clumping, manufacturers use additives to prevent that. Shredded cheese is also subject to mold quicker. Block cheese is cheaper, lasts longer and you can freeze it.
- Cheese made from the milk of grass fed cows is healthier. It contains more conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), which makes it heart healthier. It also contains more omega-3 fatty acids and the optimal ratio of omega-3 to omega-6.
For more information, contact us today at Next Level Fitness